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The Wave System: How to Get Your Facebook Page Updates Seen By More People

Did you just write a killer blog post? Or do you have an event/product to promote?

The Problem of Sharing Links on Facebook

If so, you probably rely, at least partially, on linking to your webpage through Facebook. But lately Facebook is showing outbound links to such a small percentage of your page followers, that it’s potentially detrimental to blogs and businesses alike.

Bloggers have it worst because even when people click on a link through a Facebook and decide to share a blog post, they don’t share or interact on the Facebook post–they do it directly from the blog. So the Facebook post gets no interaction and therefore Facebook views it as irrelevant. Before I developed the Wave System I’ll outline below, my outbound links were being seen by less than 10% of the followers on my page.

I’ve spent a lot of time and money to acquire the fans on my pages; but when I write a blog post or have a sale that my readers can benefit from, Facebook doesn’t allow me to tell anybody about it.

Sound familiar?

Within 20 minutes, any post with a link from your Facebook post falls so far down the feed, it’s rendered useless.

By this time, you should know that the more interaction you get on a post, the more people will see it. If you have figured out a way to get people to interact on your promotional posts, I’m all ears. I’ve tested on 10 different pages and still haven’t figured it out.

Since payment buttons, squeeze page, and blogs usually exist outside of Facebook, you need people to click a link—a link that Facebook doesn’t want to show them.

You’re then left with two bad options:

Bad Option #1 – You can continue to post sales material multiple times a day and preface it sheepishly with words like:

“hey guys,

In case you missed it earlier, just a reminder we’re having a big sale on our super premium widgets today.”

This way more people will see the ad, but it also means you’re no longer adding value to your followers and will probably get your page hidden.

Bad Option #2 – You can decide to pay for Facebook’s “pay to promote” feature. I like Facebook ads, but am I the only one who has noticed that it gets more and more expensive? It costs me $1,000 to promote a SINGLE POST to the followers on one of my pages.

I already run Facebook ads continuously, but $1,000 to promote a single post to my existing fans is almost never worth it–especially to promote a blog post and not product sale. And, for almost every Facebook page owner that runs a small business, it’s out of the question.

To put it bluntly, you’re screwed. All that time, money, and effort you spent building up a Facebook page has gone for naught. Facebook is evil right? Would you agree that they are greedy pigs that are systematically squashing small businesses?

I don’t…

Facebook is Forcing Marketers to Evolve

Facebook used to be a place where lazy marketers could get heard. All they had to do was put sales pitches in the feed and generated big email lists that turned into sales. But now I can’t log onto Facebook without seeing a marketer (or even the occasional social media expert) complaining that Facebook is evil and is making it impossible to succeed.

Make no mistake; Facebook is still the most powerful marketing medium on the planet. That is, of course, if you know how to use it.

I say this because, through a lot of experimentation, I’ve developed a system to select the posts I want Facebook to show to my audience for free. With a bit of planning, I’ve repeatedly gotten status updates with outbound links to my blog posts and event promotions to 50-75% of the users on my page. And no, I don’t do this by combining my links with cheap pictures, motivational quotes, or memes.

This article will teach you exactly how to trick Facebook into showing your blog posts and promotional status updates, which get little to no interaction themselves, to the majority of your users for free. In addition, I’ve included a bonus section at the bottom where I show you how to identify specific groups within your page and target them, also for free.

The First Step is Understanding EdgeRank

EdgeRank is the Facebook algorithm for determining relevance. While the specifics often change, the constant is that Facebook is trying to figure out who and what you want to listen to. It does this largely by tracking your interactions.

“Like” an update, click on a picture, watch a video, or share an article, and your affinity towards whoever shared that article goes up. (Note: This is obviously a very superficial overview about EdgeRank, but it’s enough to understand my system below.)

The Wave System – How to Manipulate EdgeRank and use it to Your Advantage

I’ve been experimenting on 10 different Facebook accounts for two years. Despite all of Facebooks changes, it has always worked and will always work in a predictable pattern.

I’ve used the Wave System to build multiple fan pages with 15,000+ members in a matter of months. Not only that, these are users who are avidly interested in my business and purchase my products.

I’ll be sharing one example of each different type of post I used in the example from the picture below. This was a promotion for a conference I’m holding. The result was that Facebook showed this post 78% of my fans for free. It did this because of the insane relevance I was able to build up in the days previous using my 4 step system below.

Ptdc seminar 1

It takes some planning on your part. Here are the 4 steps to the Wave System:

Step 1 - Collect what you predict will be a series of very viral photos. Whenever you come across something that you think will get a ton of interaction, put it in a special folder.

There are probably pages that already serve your demographic. Take a couple of hours and go through their archives. Download the viral memes or pictures that do the best on your competitors pages and put them in your folder—why start over when somebody else has already done the work for you? (Note, always give proper attribution to photos if you can. Most people don’t on Facebook, but don’t be a jerk like most people.)

Step 2 - The most viral pictures and status updates concern a controversial or often discussed subject pertaining to your industry or the perception of your industry.

Write the biggest public misconceptions about your industry. What is it that gets under your skin as a professional? Write that down.

Next, on that document, note the side of the controversy that your audience firmly sites on.

Below is a picture of an example I used to generate a lot of shares and likes leading up to my conference promotion. I know that trainers get frustrated when people say that they need to wait for everything to be perfect to start working out (because it never will be). So I posted a viral photo and added in a bit of a rant in the description for good measure.

Meme 1 pre launch

Step 3 - 2 days before you plan on putting out a promotional post start to publish 4-6 viral pictures or status updates that you expect get a ton of interaction. Pull them directly from your file in steps 1 and 2. Refer to my post called, “When is the Best Time to Post on Facebook?” to pinpoint, to the minute, the best times to publish these posts for your audience.

The more people that interact with these multiple posts the better. Continue to publish 4-6 times a day generating as many likes, comments, and shares as possible. The purpose is to generate as much relevancy from as many of your fans as possible towards your page.

The most effective status updates in terms of gaining relevancy are those that hit on a public misconception that affects your industry. It’s likely a source of common frustration and one that your audience will want to share to help education their friends and family by sharing the post. Below is an example I recently used.

Written statement

Step 4 - When it comes time to post your promotion, publish the post with your sale or call to action. For the next 2-3 days, wave in and out viral materials.

Your promotional post will not get much interaction. But, because you’ve build up so much relevancy the previous two days, Facebook will show automatically show your post to more people.

For the next 2-3 days, wave in and out promotional materials with viral posts. This way, Facebook will continue to show your promotional posts to a higher percentage of your page users.

How to Use Questions

One other option for increasing affinity to a large group of people is to ask questions that you expect to get a lot of interaction. I poll my audience for two distinct different reasons: information collection and relevance building. Allow me to give an overview of both.

Information Collection Questions – My Facebook page is my focus group. Often I’ll ask them questions like, “what topics do you want me to cover in the coming weeks?” or I might be doing one of my many experiments. For example, if you read my article linked above on the best time to post on Facebook, you’ll note that I did an experiment where I wanted to find out the most common times my following exercised. So I asked them, and hired administrative help to graph it for me.

Relevance Building - Getting a lot of comments on a status update is a fantastic way to increase relevancy to a number of followers on your page. Sometimes I’ll rile up my audience by choosing a controversial subject that affects them, arguing one side, and asking for their input. Below is an example (note that this was two days before I promoted my conference):

Question pre launch

Bonus Section – Using the Wave System to Pre-Select Your Audience

I was in a social media gathering last week and a good question came up. The question (paraphrased) was, “My Company offers different services that appeal to different types of people. Is it a problem to promote all of the services to my entire page or will that turn off the groups that aren’t interested in that one service?”

I’m in a similar situation here. My page for personal trainers promotes both nutrition and exercise products. I use the Wave System to manipulate EdgeRank to pre-select my audience.

The best way to illustrate this is with an example:

Let’s say I’m going to be promoting a nutrition program in 3 days time. I would start the wave system as per the steps above, but would only use viral photos that were nutrition based. This way, the people who were interested in nutrition would like and comment on those posts. The people who weren’t interested in nutrition would ignore them.

Then, when it comes time to put my first promotion up, the people who my content pre-selected would be shown the promotion and those who aren’t interested in nutrition wouldn’t.

It’s not perfect, but it works reasonably well.

Facebook is not evil, quite the opposite. Facebook is powerful and, if you understand how to use it, can be the most important marketing tool at your disposal.

Never forget though, the purpose of Facebook is not to collect fans; it’s to find your audience so that you can get them off of Facebook and onto an email list. Use the Wave System to get people to your squeeze pages and into your marketing funnel.

Jonathan Goodman is a 2X author and the creator of Viralnomics. He is currently offering free enrollment to his 20-day content creation course.

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Comments

  1. Jon Rhodes says:

    This is a great tip that makes sense. I will definitiely give it a go and see what happens.

  2. Excellent idea. I’ve been focusing on G+ lately, but this is definitely worth investigating.

    • Google+ is a different animal all together. I know people are saying that it’ll become the next big network because it’s Google–I just don’t believe it.

  3. Dawn says:

    For a while I wasn’t as active on my fanpages, I think because I was getting frustrated with it at one point and saw better results from other media. I then decided to start using it more again and found that I was doing it all wrong too. I notice that when I would post more links to my page from my blog, the post wouldn’t reach many people. I wasn’t posting on it all day, just sharing my blog posts and asking an occasional question. Then I started to post more without a link or I would ask questions, and magically more people would see them. But once I started posting more non link statuses then link statuses, I started to get my links seen by more people too.

    I don’t have a huge following on my pages tho since I did brush it aside for a while.

    • Yep. Just posting links on your pages won’t get them seen by many people. If you’ve already got a huge following and people click the “get notifications” link, it’s fine. For most people though, you won’t get seen by many.

  4. Jeremy Jones says:

    Really interesting strategy, definitely makes sense. Putting this into action

  5. Abhishek says:

    Whoa i did not know that there can be so many things to consider while posting post on fb page. I gone through the whole post and found it really useful and gonna implement all these on my fb page. thanks for his post.

    • Hey Abhishek.

      This goes relatively deep into strategic posting. As you eluded to, most people don’t do stuff like this. But it works and Facebook is getting tougher and tougher to use for promotion. You don’t really need to know the why, just understand that the more interaction you have before you put out a post that you want to gain traction the better.

  6. I love strategic and creative social media marketing, and this is an excellent example of just that. Facebook is doing what they need to do to be profitable, stay competitive, and continue to serve their audience. What’s wrong with that? It just means we have to be more creative ourselves, and I happen to love the challenge.

    I can’t wait to give this a shot. I’ll try to remember to report back, or write my own blog post linking to this one and giving you the credit. Thanks so much, Jonathan, for sharing your Facebook experiment with us!

    • My pleasure Michelle. I think you’ll see pretty quickly just how well this works. I’ll even do mini-cycles sometimes throughout the day and schedule a picture that I know will get a lot of interaction an hour before I have a link to a blog post go out.

    • Janet says:

      Good attitude, Michelle. People forget that basic FB is free
      and a good way to get started.

  7. I loved this post!! I actually applied some of the principals of it today and saw the biggest number on my blog to date due to facebook views because I got a post to go viral that was a link to my blog!!! Great stuff!!!

  8. Charles says:

    I tried to envision what I am going to do while I was reading your article, which, by the way, is excellent. I have created Facebook pages for all of my web sites. However, the one thing that confuses me about posts to Facebook is, posting on a page tab, or on the page wall. Is content just as important to a Facebook page as it is to a web site? This is where the confusion comes in. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Content is very important yes. But the type of content must change specific to the medium that you publish the content in.

      Facebook feeds move quickly and you must grab somebodies attention and, within seconds, give them reason to share.

      Blogs are a bit different. Blogs you still need to grab a readers attention but you can commit them to reading or at least skimming your post a bit easier.

  9. John says:

    Gonna try these tips out today…Hope it works for me Jonathan!

  10. If you are using viral photos from the website someecards (such as the one of the little boy with the milk above) just FYI that they are not allowed to be shared on Facebook business pages, it is against their terms of use. They do have a Facebook share button within their site but last I checked you could not share anything you create on their site to a business page according to their terms of use. Many of the viral someecard photos have been taken from the site using screenshots and then uploaded to users business pages and shared that way. It’s safer to use photos from a free source like http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

    • Hey Venessa. Great point and I’m generally very careful to attribute wherever possible. While it’s against Facebook’s policies, there are some major pages making a lot of money through affiliate promotions that openly steal videos and pictures daily and repost without any attribution. Yet, they don’t get shut down. I’m not recommending it, but it seems that Facebook couldn’t really care less.

  11. Facebook is where I get the top amount of traffic from in terms of social media and can’t compare to Twitter in my opinion. I’ve learned plenty about strategy, how to post, when to post and it’s worked for me. Switch up the way you post as well, not just links from your blog or website.The most important part is engaging with the fans. If you don’t have fans that comment, like and share and most of visit daily your reach will sink. I have a great page and my fans take over when I’m not there and continue the conversation but it all takes time. I want a page where the fans actually want to be there and read my blog posts and those of others I share as opposed to a page with no interaction but that’s my approach. If you want to invest in that time, it’s worth it in my opinion. Great post I learned something new! Cheers

  12. Joya Martin says:

    This is an excellent post, Darren. I started a brand new facebook page. It is only one week old, and I am not at the point of having anything to promote just yet. I have a feeling that the Wave System you’ve outlined will work well to stimulate page interest and generate fans.

    I like the fact that you’ve suggested using memes as a way to generate relevance by riling fans up a bit, as opposed to just posting them blindly and in tern only getting a giggle or two.

    Thanks much!

    • Thanks Joya. It’s great you recognize so early on in your pages evolution the power of memes and where/when to use them. That by itself will help you achieve a lot of success with your page.

  13. Oluwayomi says:

    This is really informative and helpful. Traffic from Facebook have not been encouraging lately, considering the fact that it is the second most visited site on the internet daily. Will have to play around with this steps for a couple of weeks. Thanks for sharing.

  14. ElizOF says:

    I so get your post Jonathan. I’ve forked over a few shekels to FB in my time too. Love this post. :-)
    Eliz

    • I tried to fork some shekels once. True story, I was in Eilat on the beach and it was a dare. The prongs of the fork bent and everybody was dissapointed.

  15. Ahmed Sharif says:

    its great that Facebook’s policies are bringing the best out of marketers…. the best marketers would do best in this market…. this post is a great example of that….

    I work with photos…. yet, I found it difficult to reach my audience… now, after seeing the more difficult side of it (people who don’t work with photos), I feel more confident!

    thanks for the great post!… I’ll put these strategies to work for sure!

  16. Julie says:

    I am going to try this. I hate that only 10% of the people on my page are seeing my stuff!

  17. Andrew says:

    Wait! Isn’t 16% the top quote of fan that can see a Facebook Page’s Update?

    • Sara says:

      Nope – 16% is an approximate average reach some pages are seeing for post content; I’ve seen average reach topping 30 or 40+% for brands that generate top-notch quality and have built their audiences organically. And I’ve seen reach much lower than 16%, also.

  18. Lucy says:

    Thank you found this really helpful. We dont use our facebook page much but maybe we should !

  19. Anshu says:

    Jonathan Goodman you are a genius! This is one of those posts where I kick myself in the butt and say “Why couldn’t I think of it myself”. Anyhow, I’m going to start collecting those cool quotes and infographics that I often see about sewing, laugh and click away!

  20. I had no idea this is how Facebook decided who sees your posts. I have noticed that fun viral pictures or fun facts get more likes and share though. Thanks for the tips, I’m excited to try them out!

  21. Jacob says:

    it’s true that for just 20 mins or even a minute your post will be useless due to the number of users. This tip will really help marketers or business persons to change their strategy on making money when it comes to social – media.

  22. Great post! Will start building my folder.

  23. rakesh says:

    i started collecting infographics

  24. Brad Jones says:

    Thanks for this article! Facebook has been a weakness for me. I have Facebook and Twitter attached to one another but page traffic has been a difficult thing to develop. The viral pics is a great suggestion. I do have to admit that the first instinct is to just link services and specials. Adding relevant content and viral pics I think is really going to help a lot more than what I’ve been doing.

  25. Ethan Pepper says:

    Interesting system of course some niches lend themselves better to viral images than others do. My main problem is not having enough fans on my page to really get any viral posts going in the first place. I guess there is always posting on other peoples pages to get attention or facebook PPC.

    • Of course that’s the first step. Learn how to use Facebook’s PPC system to get started. Once you have a fan base it’s easier to grow it organically but nobody wants to be the first to a party.

  26. Louise Myers says:

    Don’t be a jerk by not attributing images? How about don’t break the law by downloading images you have no right to use?

    • It’s absolutely breaking the law Louise and I agree with you. I’m very careful to attribute or own every picture I use. That said, go on Facebook and peruse your feed and tell me how many others are doing so. I’m not saying it’s right, but nobody is policing it.

      • Louise Myers says:

        Believe me, I’m well aware of it. It makes it difficult for content producers and honest people to keep up. Just so you know, merely attributing an image that you don’t own rights to use is still copyright infringement, and the creator of the image could go after you if they so choose. There are tools to find stolen images online, and Getty Images for one is reportedly sending infringers bills for thousands of dollars.

        As a designer, I don’t appreciate others encouraging the stealing of images they have no rights to use.

        • Louise I was aware of that and I agree with you 100%. I actually have a page on my site where I post the places bloggers can get creative commons images with all attribution rules written out to try to avoid this problem.

          In retrospect, I should have worded that section differently. For that, I apologize. I appreciate the gravity of the situation but also recognize that it’s common-place and punishments are almost never levied.

          The problem has gotten so bad that there are Facebook pages with 100k+ fans selling things like supplements that have made a business from stealing videos and uploading them to their Facebook pages with direct links to their product.

          So yes, with you here and again, I apologize about the wording but cannot take it back. I hope you still took something from this article.

  27. Susan Fuller says:

    This makes sense though I find that these days Facebook doesn’t even want to show photos. My best posts are pure text usually questions.

    • Photos seem to be getting seen by about 10-15% of users these days compared to 30-45% for text-based updates from my research. However, photos get seen and get shared a lot more than text updates. So it really depends on what your purpose is.

  28. Jen Smith says:

    Wow this is intense

  29. Charles says:

    I keep getting notifications that I have over 100 visitors, but get no likes. I don’t understand that.

  30. Deb says:

    This is great and I am going to use it, thank you.
    My questions is, when you say gather some photos and put it in a special folder, are you refering to creating a special photo album on the fanpage, or just saved to my computer?